I have a quick anecdote about the Timex Marlin. A few months ago, a friend of mine who is not particularly interested in watches asked for my opinion on a series of timepieces via text message. Some newsletter he was subscribed to had released a list of watches to consider at a variety of price points, and he wanted my take on which watch was “better” in each category. In the least expensive segment, a Timex Marlin was paired up against a quartz fashion watch of some kind that was (literally) unmemorable, so I told him my preference was the Timex. Watch pairs kept coming, and prices rose, and I’d choose a favorite, but to be honest none of the watches he was showing me were particularly striking. Lots of homages, I think I saw an Invicta. You get the idea. Once he was tapped out (at a price in the low low four figures if I recall correctly) I let him know that of all the watches he showed me, the Marlin was easily the best.
Now, that’s certainly a commentary on the drab selection of watches in this roundup, which was clearly not curated by collectors or enthusiasts, but more likely a marketing team placing affiliate links. But I think it also says something about the success of the Marlin, which to my mind has entered the realm of a minor modern classic, with good looks inspired by midcentury watch design and the pedigree of a historic, and still great, American watch brand. Now, Timex has unveiled a pair of new Marlins with some updated styling cues that feel like a natural continuation in the evolution of one of our favorite vintage throwback designs.
The new variants come in blue and green sunray brushed dials that appear to have a fair bit of gloss to them, which is a natural pairing against the highly polished case. What’s really striking about these watches though are the stylized Arabic numerals which appear to set against black plates. The typeface gives the watches a surprisingly contemporary feel and is an interesting play on the fonts used in prior versions of the Marlin. Polished, applied hour markers are used elsewhere on the dial.
The case on these new Marlins measures 40mm in diameter and is 13mm tall. Inside, you’ll find an automatic movement. It’s sparsely finished and viewable through the display caseback, but for an eminently fair price of $249, nobody should be expecting high horology.
There are only a small handful of truly affordable mechanical watches that can easily be recommended to anyone. Various Hamilton field watches come to mind, as do watches in the Seiko 5 Sports collection. The Timex Marlin belongs in that category as well. There are few watches that link so directly to a brand’s history, and still look completely appropriate in just about any contemporary setting. The new Timex Marlins are available now on the Timex website. Timex